Frank Corsentino(DaiMon Bok)
Writers: Larry Forrester, Herbert Wright
Years ago, Picard destroyed an alien vessel, but his own ship, the USS Stargazer, was crippled in the battle. The crew abandoned ship and were rescued, but the ship was never recovered. The Ferengi have now found it, and present it back to Picard. However, they are also controlling his mind and they manipulate Picard into thinking that he is back at that battle and that the Enterprise is his adversary. Picard uses the same maneuver that he used to win the original battle (the Picard Maneuver, which involves a high warp jump that makes the ship appear to be in two places at once) but as the Enterprise knows it is coming they managed to capture the Stargazer in a tractor beam and prevent it from attacking. They talk Picard into destroying the device the Ferengi Captain is using to plant suggestions in Picards mind and everything is okay.
This is actually a really nice idea for an episode, and it is pretty well delivered as well. It is nice to see a more old fashioned bridge in the Stargazer (a redress of the Enterprise bridge sets from the first four movies) and the Ferengi are not half as irritating in this episode. Wesley appears for the first time in his hideous Acting Ensign uniform – luckily, someone realises how horrible it is and it gets replaced next season.
The Ferengi are developed a little further – at the end the Ferengi Captain is arrested as his plan against Picard is deemed “unprofitable” by his own people – it seems it was an act of revenge due to the death of Daimon Boks own son in the original battle.
The only bit that annoys me is the fact that the device that controls Picard is brought across with all of his other belongings from his quarters on the Stargazer. By Worf, future head of security. Didn’t someone think to check the stuff before they beamed it across? Surely even Worf would have thought that there was something slightly suspicious about a big glowing orb. Oh well!
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 1
First Aired: November 24, 1966
I won’t go into the background of this episode, as I did that in my comments to part one. Instead, I shall look at the merits of the completed story now that I have seen it.
Less than half of part one was made from material from The Cage
and so this episode redresses the balance, with a lot more of the drama coming from the original pilot. Some parts
of the pilot are much weaker than the threads from The Menagerie
but with the changing of the ending (they use some of the same footage from the end of The Cage
but put it here in a different
context) makes the whole things seem a lot more worthwhile. It is, again, however, the drama in the courtroom that really grabs your attention, as it is slowly revealed
what it going on.
By itself, The Cage is a weak episode. Fleshed out with the extra stuff here, it becomes very very strong, and viewed as one story, this is Star Trek at pretty much it’s best. Episode two is slightly weaker, but as a whole the 95 or so minutes that make up this episode stand together very well – Roddenberry, who wrote both the pilot and this – weaves the elements together very well. The Cage is available as an extra on one of the DVD sets (I will not be reviewing it here, since the end of The Cage contradicts the end of The Menagerie) and somehow without all of the trial stuff it certainly seems incomplete. I love it because it is far more adventurous than TV tended to be then (and even now) – effectively Captain Pike is the star of this show, with Spock, but so much attention is given to non- regular characters. (They do it again, also with much success, almost thirty years later in a ST:TNG episode called Lower Decks).
Watch this, preferably one sitting. You shouldn’t be disappointed.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 19
First Aired: November 17, 1966
For those of you who are not aware, this two part episode (the only two part episode in the run of the original Star Trek series) was actually done as a cost cutting exercise. Before Star Trek was made as a weekly TV series, a pilot episode called The Cage was filmed and ultimately rejected, however another pilot was made and the rest is history.
The Cage was about an hour long, and started Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike. It was decided to build some new material around the pilot and create a two part episode that would only cost as much as a single episode. So, half of the story is set in the normal time, and the other part is set some years earlier.
Since I am reviewing part one and not the whole story, I shall try and consider these as separate episodes.
The opening half of this episode is excellent. We have no idea why Spock has stolen the Enterprise, and the look on Kirks face when he h
ears that the starship
has warped out of the starbase
is priceless! I also think this is the first time we see a shuttlecraft
on the show.
The second half of the episode features the trial of Spock for mutiny. We get to see the dress uniforms, and then as evidence in his defence he shows footage from the pilot. Now, one of the reasons that this works so well is that the uniforms are different (though we have seen them earlier in the second pilot) and also the Enterprise bridge is considerably different. Okay, so the Trekkie knows why this is, but to the casual viewer it really does look like they have made an effort to make everything look older. Heck, even the communicators look retro compared to the ones we are used to!
The Talosians, with their now famous bulbous, veiny heads are also great. The one minor gripe in this episode is the first officer of the Enterprise under Pike – it is Majel Barrett, who also plays Nurse Chapel. It was probably wise for them not to use Chapel in this episode, however they just about get away with it – the characters look very different, and because Number One has a very emotionless voice, she doesn’t sound like Chapel either (though she does sound like the ST:TNG computer voice. But there’s a reason for that – she is!
The episode ends very well, with a dual cliffhanger – Pike has been kidnapped and Spock has almost certainly invited the death penalty for his actions. As a standalone episode, complete with cliffhanger, it works very well indeed. One of my best so far.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 19